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As the baby grows, the body needs more energy and vital nutrients. A gradual introduction to solid food becomes necessary, but while doing so, you need to keep in mind that the transition from milk to solid foods should not prove to be very much overwhelming for the baby.
When the baby is 4-6 months old, milk is not enough for the baby as the nutritional needs increases as the baby grows and the need to introduce solid foods to the baby arises. The foods that you add into your baby’s diet in the transition from milk to adult food is known as SOLID FOOD.
Introduction to solid foods must take place on the right time. If the transition is delayed, the baby is likely to become curious about the adult food only when he is toddler and not before that. In this case, the chances of malnutrition arise.
4-Months is the right time to introduce solid food to your babies as the baby’s digestive system becomes ready for solid foods by this time. You should start solid foods, as soon as the infant starts showing signs of readiness like swallowing.
When preparing food for your baby, start from pureeing, steaming or mashing each item one at a time. Do not add any salt or sugar and continue one type of food for 2 to 3 days to check if the baby is allergic to that food. Start with single grain cereals and then try fruits and vegetables. As the baby is not open to metallic touches, start using a small teaspoon. Also, start feeding small portions and keep a keen eye on the way your baby reacts to the texture of the food. In case, the baby refuses any food, do not force and try it in another week.
The transition from liquid to solid food should be done very carefully. For a baby of 4-6 months, start with 1 tablespoon once a day. When the baby is 6 months old, feeding schedule can be 2 meals of 2-4 tablespoons every day.
Not all babies are ready for solid food even after 4 months. Check the readiness of your baby and look for the following signs before introducing solid foods:
It is advisable to consult your doctor before introducing any solid food to your baby because every baby is different, and the body can react differently to various foods. While most parents start by giving single ingredient food without adding any salt or sugar, you can also give pureed single grain cereal, peaches, bananas, and sweet potatoes. On the other hand, there is a long list of foods that you should avoid.
Natural foods do not harm the baby, but honey contains spores of Clostridium botulinum bacterium which can multiply in baby’s intestine and result in botulism in the infant. On one hand where older babies have mature digestive systems to fight this type of botulism, the babies up to 1 year old can face serious consequences. Keeping this in mind, honey is not recommended for the babies below the ae of 1 year.
For the first year, stick to breast milk or formula milk because the cow or soya milk from cartons contain proteins that the baby cannot digest. Moreover, some minerals can also have bad effects on the baby’s kidneys. In case the baby has lactose intolerance, such products can cause allergic reactions like Diarrhea.
The very first thing to be noted here is that the thick consistency of peanut butter can cause choking. It can also cause allergic reactions.
Nitrates cannot be processed by the baby’s digestive system, even after cooking and pureeing. Vegetables like spinach, beets, and lettuce should be avoided.
Oranges or grapefruits are acidic in nature and can upset baby’s stomach. Baby’s find it hard to digest berries, and its best to cut citrus fruits into small pieces and dilute them with water before you give them to your baby. Carefully observe the reaction before introducing them to your baby.
The baby’s kidneys are not well developed to process large amounts of salt and it is best to use less tan one gram a day. Avoid processed foods as they contain sodium.
Seeds and nuts can cause choking and are normally highly allergic.
Grapes and raisins are hard to digest and cause choking as they are firm and large.
The Chocolate contains caffeine and can cause allergies. On the other hand, the dairy components of the chocolate can be difficult to digest. Tea and coffee should also be avoided as they too carry caffeine.
If there is any history of Gluten Intolerance in your family, it’s better to wait until the baby is a year old before introducing foods that contain wheat.
Drinks that contain high concentration of sugar, sodium and artificial flavorings are not good for the babies and the gas used to carbonate these types of drinks can upset baby’s tummy.
There is no thing like the perfect feeding schedule. At times when your breast milk supply is low, you should give a try to solid foods.
Last but not the least, a baby’s mother always knows when its time to feed the baby and what is right for her baby because no manual is comparable to a MOTHER.